In his daily briefing Wednesday, Gov. Bill Lee recommended schools in the state close for the remainder of the school year.

He said the recommendation came as a way to protect all Tennesseans and help them stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Advertisement

“I’m sure this news may not come as a surprise to many of you,” said Dr. John Combs, director of Tipton County Schools. “I want to say to all of you, though, how disappointed I am that this decision is necessary.”

Further, Combs had a message for the high school seniors.

“My heart goes out especially to our graduating class of 2020. You worked so hard to get to this point and we’re still so proud of you.”

More information about the specifics of graduation is expected.

Now in their fifth week of closure, Tipton County’s students were set to finish school on May 22.

High school graduations were set for May 14-18.

Since schools closed on March 16, the system has been distributing lunches and breakfasts to students at no charge. Combs said this will continue through the remainder of what was the school year.

Instructional materials for students will also be available, but are not required to be completed.

“We must ensure the safety and wellbeing of every child in Tennessee during this time,” Gov. Lee said.

Lee also announced a COVID-19 Child Wellbeing Task Force, led by Dept. of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn, will work with school districts to support students during the closure.

The state department of education decided in a meeting earlier this month students’ final grades for this school year would be based on their grades as of March 20.

Schools are expected to reopen for the 2020-21 school year.